Everyone makes mistakes. However, some mistakes are considered more severe than others, especially in the eyes of the law. Individuals who have committed crimes of varying degrees in Dallas, TX are subject to having a criminal record. Most people are aware that having a criminal record is frowned upon by the vast majority of potential employers and public institutions. However, many are not fully aware of what a criminal record really entails.

What will I be limited from if I have a criminal record?

Individuals with a criminal record are generally limited in the following areas:

  • Ability to own a firearm
  • Fewer chances of winning child custody
  • More severe penalties if a subsequent offense is committed
  • Forced withdrawal from some university programs
  • Difficulty crossing borders and in immigration
  • Difficulty landing jobs which require a criminal background check

Of course, what a person is limited from will depend on whether they committed a misdemeanor crime or a felony. It is important to note that one does not have to commit a felony (such as murder) to develop a criminal record. Misdemeanor crimes which are considered less severe, such as theft, can also be enough to damage one’s record.

How long will my crime stay on my criminal record?

Once again, how long the crime remains on file depends on what was committed in the first place. In general, most crimes are kept in record for the next 5-10 years. However, some crimes can last a lifetime and some may be erased before 5 years. Individuals can opt to try and have their criminal record sealed or they can even try to apply for expungement.If their crime was a misdemeanor crime they have more chances of having their expungement request fulfilled.

What is the difference between sealing and expungement?

Both sealing and expungement are ways in which individuals can reduce the impact of their criminal record in Dallas, TX.

Sealing: When a person successfully gets their criminal record sealed then their record is no longer accessible to the public. It is still recorded and can sometimes be used against them in future court cases. However, it is not accessible to employers and the general public. Crimes which were committed before the age of 18 are ordinarily always sealed from potential employers. Notably, sexual crimes are rarely allowed to be sealed.

Expungement: In expungement, a person gets their crime completely erased from their criminal record so that it cannot be brought up again. There are obviously only certain cases when this can happen.

How a lawyer can help

Anyone who has committed a crime can contact a criminal defense lawyer to determine if their case can be sealed or if expungement is an actual option for them. If a person does not have a criminal record yet and they have simply been accused then it is still a good idea to get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer in Dallas, TX, as soon as possible. Getting the help of an attorney can make it easier for a person to win their case or it can at least help them have their penalties reduced significantly.